As I write this, we’re still two weeks from Thanksgiving here in the United States, but I’ve already seen Christmas lights going up around town. Seems early to me, but maybe it springs from a collective yearning for the joy and nostalgia of the holidays, and the warm comfort it brings.
I suspect it’s a desperate attempt to encourage 2020 to leave already.
Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: our holidays will look different this year. Thanks to the pandemic, some of the ways we’re used to doing things just aren’t possible this year. For many, that is a source of great sadness.
But it might be worth asking, what does it make possible? Is there a bright side to any of this?
Well, for one thing, we are forced to be intentional, which is a practice we’re not used to in our busy society. With so much going on, it’s much easier to go with the flow and do things the way we’ve always done them. But going with the flow isn’t always ideal, especially when that thing we’ve always done went moldy a decade ago.
This year, we’ve been given an incredible opportunity (or excuse, depending on how you look at it) to tinker. Opportunities like this don’t come along very often. The pressure is off! You have the chance to try something new without taking any heat if it doesn’t work.
Just blame it on COVID.
Some who are reading this are the intentional type. You’ve had the itch to mix things up for years, but never had the buy-in from the ones with their heels dug in, resistant to change. This year is bringing change, like it or not, and no one has any say in the matter. So use it as the reason for trying something new — you know, “because COVID” — and give it a whirl. You can always soften it by ensuring everyone that you’ll go back to the old way next year. And maybe you will. But the little secret you know is that change can be good, and sometimes we just need a little nudge to embrace it.
Some who are reading this are the traditionalists. You’re certain that the way you’ve always done it is the best way. You might be right. But as the old saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Maybe a break from tradition will finally make it clear to the others just how good and valuable it is.
Whatever your natural inclination, you do have the option of going all Grinch or unleashing your inner Ebenezer Scrooge, determined to “Bah Humbug” any glimmer of something good coming from this. But grousing over how unfair it is that the apple cart got overturned this year will only serve to guarantee your holidays will be miserable.
Not everything has to be great for us to see the good in a situation.
This is the first holiday season for some. It will be the last for others. All the more reason to embrace what‘s possible and savor the good. Use this opportunity to try something new, to make the best of a difficult situation.
Don’t miss the joy by dwelling on what you lost.
Please know that I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t be sad, frustrated, or disappointed by this challenging turn of events. Make no mistake, COVID blows.
I’m merely suggesting you open your eyes to the possibility that you might stumble across a new tradition that spans generations. Or perhaps you’ll breathe new appreciation into an old one that went stale.
Or maybe you’ll simply try a one-time thing. A one-time thing that delivers a happy memory that will remind you decades from now of that terrible year that actually brought forth some pretty good moments.
No doubt about it, this holiday season brings more than its share of challenges. But it also comes bearing a special gift.
Will you accept it?